Union Leader Still Flouting the Law

Yesterday’s Post-Gazette featured a story highlighting the fact that Wendell Young still isn’t registered to lobby, and UFCW 1776 is underreporting their expenses:

Mr. Young isn’t registered as a lobbyist, though lobbying is “one of many hats I wear.” While UFCW discloses payments to outside lobbyists, state law exempts any “individual who does not receive economic consideration for lobbying” — and as president, Mr. Young said, he isn’t paid to lobby per se.

But the law doesn’t exempt people who wear “many hats” from having to register before they lobby. It requires anyone spending a significant amount of time lobbying—20 hours in a quarter—or is paid more than $2,500 in a quarter to register.

UFCW reports Young spends 10 percent of his time on lobbying and political activity. Given his compensation of $331,051, that represents well more than the minimum threshold for registering.

Moreover, UCFW refuses to report millions of dollars in TV commercials as “indirect lobbying:”

UFCW also hasn’t reported a 2014 TV campaign urging viewers to “tell your state [legislators] to say ‘no’ to liquor privatization.”

State law requires lobbying interests to report the cost of messages that “encourage others [to take steps that will] directly influence legislative action.” But Mr. Young said the ads were “representational activity” about contract issues, not lobbying.

Here’s the ad UFCW purchased at the cost of $300,000 last year:

It ends with a call to “contact your state senator & state representative,” after laughably claiming that liquor privatization will kill more children.

The previous year, UFCW spent more than $1 million airing this TV ad:

It also calls on viewer to “tell your state senator to say no to liquor privatization,” after implying that allowing grocery stores to sell wine would create many more orphans.

Wendell Young doesn’t care if he broke the law or not. Maybe you do.

But either way, government unions are significantly underreporting their political spending to the state.